With the number of COVID-19 cases in Alberta now at 542 and counting, the Alberta government on Friday imposed more restrictions in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Effective immediately, Albertans are now prohibited from attending gatherings of more than 15 people, and they must observe two metres of social distancing. This includes public and private gatherings where people are brought together in a single room or space at the same time, including funerals, weddings, and other formal or informal events. It also includes open spaces such as trails, fields, and parks.
Workplaces that have not been ordered to close can continue to have more than 15 workers as long as those businesses maintain public health measures including two metres of social distancing, hygiene enforcement and processes that ensure that any person who is ill does not attend these spaces.
Any business or organization not following the public health order will be subject to a fine.
The province has also imposed more restrictions on available services. Albertans are now prohibited from attending all non-essential businesses including:
Close contact businesses including hair salons, barbershops, tattoo and piercing studios, aesthetic services, as well as wellness studios and clinics and non-emergency and non-critical health services provided by regulated health professionals including dentistry, physiotherapy, massage, podiatry, chiropractic and optometry services.
Dine-in restaurants will no longer be able to offer dine-in services. Take-out and delivery services will continue to be available.
Non-essential retail services that fall into the categories of clothing, computer and gaming stores, and services in shopping malls and shopping centres such as hobby and toys, gift and specialty items, and furniture.
The provincial government has also suspended automobile access temporarily at access points to all provincial parks and provincial recreation areas.
The suspension applies to vehicle access to parking lots and staging areas. Albertans who travel to provincial parks and recreation sites will have to do so by non-motorized means only.
Albertans who choose to access the province’s provincial parks and recreation areas should follow physical distancing advice and not gather in large groups.
Alberta Parks facilities, including toilets and picnic and warm-up shelters, have been closed for more than a week.
Enforcement officers will be doing routine checks in provincial parks and on public land to support education and awareness on the temporary closures. Officers can issue fines for non-compliance if required.